How, in a city that's broke due to the shocking fiscal mismanagement of the mayor's administration was Paul Dyster able to remain politically alive following the September 10 primary by squeaking out a 73 vote win - 2110 to 2037 - over councilman Glenn Choolokian?
How, in a city where some residents can't get regular running water in their homes and other residents are afraid to walk their neighborhood streets in the daytime, let alone after sundown, was Paul Dyster able to walk off with a primary victory last Friday?
We believe we have the answer to the troubling mystery as to how Dyster remains in control of a city that he has virtually destroyed both financially and in spirit. And the answer overrides all theories as to whether Dyster left "votes on the table" through lazy campaigning or the unarguable truth that only 27% of registered Democrats voted.
The elemental fact driving Dyster's continued political success is that he has a built in voter base of city employees and their families who see his political future as the key to their continued ride on the Dyster Gravy train. Only when the number of disaffected and angry voters rises to a level where it overcomes the Dyster gravy train passengers will Dyster be turned from office. That day of judgement came perilously close for the mayor on September 10, but close only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades.
We explain it this way: there were as many as 1000 city employee votes that Dyster thought he had in his pocket. The number seems high, you say? Well it goes like this: there are 300 fire and police and those firemen and police officers have, in many cases, spouses, adult children and even friends they can influence to support Dyster. On top of this there are the well paid department heads and their families. In addition to that there are the select city employees who don't fall into the above categories but who are the proverbial fat and happy stipend grabbers and overtime earners courtesy of their pal, Paul Dyster. All of these above individuals could easily represent as many as 1000 dedicated Dyster votes.
Note that we did not factor in the rank and file common rabble - as Dyster may say - city employees because we believe that those hard working average folks despise the mayor and most certainly don't support his continued stay in city hall.
To the above 1000 we also factored in the number of city employees enrolled as Democrats as well as the fact that the firemen have no residency requirement while the police do have a residency requirement...although some police violate the residency as Paul Dyster and Donna Owens and the corporation counsel turn a blind eye to those violations. Dyster, Owens and the corporation counsel have in the past, however, prosecuted two female city hall clerical workers for violating residency and fired the women.
In any event, we, for the sake of this column and the overall argument, cut the 1000 down to an easily realistic 500 dedicated Dyster 2015 primary votes that unquestioningly fell into the mayor's column last Thursday. That means that Glenn Choolokian's modestly funded campaign came within 72 votes of taking out the arrogant, spendthrift, Buffalo based, Mayor Paul Dyster!
And that means that Dyster, after having spent $90 million in taxpayer casino dollars on friends, costly projects, campaign supporters and favored employees, nearly got clipped. As a matter of fact he could still lose the race since as many as 268 absentee ballots have yet to be counted later this week. Choolokian isn't dead yet.
In conclusion the Dyster promoted notion that there were hundreds of "Dyster supporters" that simply failed to take the time to vote is preposterous. The real concern is the many registered Democratic voters who, though disgusted with a lack of running water, dangerous streets, rutted city roads and misspent taxpayer casino dollars, never showed up at the polls to send Paul Dyster packing.
In a city that's cursed with lazy, low information voters a character such as Paul Dyster will continue to win because of his hand crafted government employee voter base...a voter base that you, the taxpayer, paid for.